Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Meditation class

Work offers a meditation class.  It's more of a close-your-eyes-and-relax class.  I was going for a few months and then I took the summer off.  I re-joined the class and the first class was great.  I felt as if I hadn't truly relaxed for a while afterwards.

The class is pretty simple.  Sit, close your eyes, and breathe deeply.  There is an "instructor".  He basically just repeats, "be aware of..." over and over.  It sounds silly as I write about it, but it's actually a really fantastic half hour every week.

The class is relaxing because it is about being aware of right now.  I can't help but think about the all the good things right now.  I shouldn't need a class or an 'instructor' for that:P

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Every Ramadan without fail several people say to me some variation of, 'Fasting is so hard.  I could never...aren't you hungry?'  My usual response is something along the lines of, 'it's really not so much about food' or 'the not eating part really isn't that hard'.

Each year I try to focus on something during Ramadan.  One or two things that I want to improve or at least be more aware of.  In past years, this has been mostly mental.  This year my focus is mostly physical; my focus is food.  So much of what the things I listen to are about how to balance deen and dunya.  Food is both.

I tell people every year that Ramadan is not really about food, but this year it's a big part of it for me.

I waste a lot of food.  I want to waste less.  Every meal that I don't finish my food, I waste it.  The wastefulness is pervasive and affects so many aspects of life.  In me, wastefulness breeds an undeserved attitude of entitlement and privilege.  I want every time I eat to be a reminder that I have so much.  Rather, I have just the right amount; the amount I am supposed to have.  No more.  No less.  It's up to me to take the right amount.

Really, I'm trying to be mindful of food.  This hopefully translates into being mindful about other things.  Be mindful year round Taher.

I believe that I'll get what is coming to me.  No more, no less.  It's up to me to be happy with whatever that is.  Taher, let every time you eat be a reminder.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Acceptable Costs

I've trained myself to think in economic terms about many things.  At work, I almost reflexively think about things in terms of their utility and the acceptable costs.  Basically, I look at most things in terms trying to make them better.

At work...

But I want to put this thinking into more of my life.  At work I've come to realize that perfect is the enemy of better.  I don't spend too much time trying to get something just right and have that stand in the way of things getting better.  It's natural for me to use this "economic" thinking at work, but for some reason this kind of approach doesn't kick in automatically when it's not work.

I have what I expect to be a stressful day coming up.  There are lots of things to keep track of, lists and lists:P  I've had many stressful days before and hopefully many still to come.  I'm already anticipating being a bit stressed out.  I'm trying to remember that's ok.  I want to be stressed out a little less than last time I had a stressful day.  As long as I'm better than the last time, that's a victory.

I'll come back in a couple days and read this in the morning.  Hopefully, I'll come back for this reminder the next stressful day after that...

The goal for today isn't perfection; it's better than yesterday.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

starless sky

I heard a physicist talk about the universe expanding.  It was a pretty cool and a little bit geeky, but still accessible to me.  It was fascinating.  I read more about the work that is the basis for the talk.  A couple guys won a nobel prize a couple years ago for showing that universe is not only getting bigger, but that things the universe is accelerating away from itself.

The force moving stars apart is stronger than the gravity holding them close.  This means that eventually that stars will be moving away from us so fast that they will be going the speed of light (or faster even?).  If stars in the sky are going away from us at the speed of light then their light will never reach us.  The sky will eventually just be dark!  This might not be news, but I read it with gravitas.

It's pretty amazing to be here NOW.  There are countless cliches about living right now and in the moment.  They're sometimes inspirational and often overused and ineffective.  I read about this discovery and found it pretty inspirational.  One day the world will be different.  One day we actually won't be able to see stars in the sky.  I'm glad that's not today.  Things are pretty good today.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

throw up memory

This was one of the first things I wrote ten years ago.  This memory is still vivid.  I still remember how I felt when I wrote this.  I had no idea then.

Yesterday at masjid Yusuf got sick in the middle of Ishaa.  It was the second raqaat and I immediately broke my namaz to take care of him.  Fortunately, he was feeling much better in a matter of moments.  I ran around and cleaned him up and assured him that everything was ok.  Luckily, the mess was almost entirely on our masallas.  I cleaned it up and was pretty immune to the grossness that the person next to me in namaz probably saw and smelled.  But phew, Yusuf was feeling good and eventually everything was rinsed and less smelly.

Fast forward to a few hours later on our way home and he got sick again in the car still about 10 minutes from home.  Fortunately again, he seemed to feel much better within moments.  The car though, is not a great place to be sick.  We got home way after bedtime with a bunch stuff that we had to do all of a sudden.  The kids now needed a bath and a bunch of laundry to do.

Zahra and I got the kids all cleaned up and put to bed and then had to deal with the car.  The mess was everywhere and it was now raining outside.  Great.  I took the car apart and cleaned for what seemed like a pretty long time.  Again, I was seemingly immune to the grossness.  A neighbor walked passed and observed me cleaning vomit out with lots and lots of wet wipes.  I can only imagine what he must have been thinking.

Last night was pure love.  Taking care of Yusuf is so instinctual for us.

Yesterday was a day I that I will remember for a long time I imagine.  When Yusuf is older it's going to be one of those stories I tell over and over.  I expect people will indulge me and act as if it's a story they've never heard before just because I'm so fond of telling it.  They'll listen just the way I have patiently listened to a few people I love tell the same stories over and over because I love watching them remember fondly.

I've got some idea now, but probably still just an inkling.  I've learned something over and over the last ten years...my reward for love is more love.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

What are we going to do today?

Zahra has been gone this week and it's been me and the kids for six days so far. I'm a little exhausted, but in the most fulfilling way. I've been keeping the kids so busy with fun stuff that they've hopefully been distracted a bit from the fact the person most important to them is away for a week. I'll count it a victory if they were even a little bit distracted. 

Today I was rushing around trying to get the kids to madrasa. After dropping them I stopped to finally eat something today. 

I noticed a group of retired guys having a leisurely breakfast. I remember seeing the same older guys last week and remember thinking, "That's so nice. I hope I have a nice regular get together with some friends when I'm retired."

This morning I sat within earshot of them.  Feeling a bit ragged from the week, I shoved breakfast in my mouth so I could get to the next place on time. 

These guys were clearly taking their time and one of them said' "Well, what are we going to do today?"  He said it with such wonder. He said it open to the huge potential of what today and right now could bring. He wasn't talking about next summer or next month or next weekend or even tomorrow. 

I was jealous of how in the present they were and also keenly aware at that moment that I wasn't. 

Theres so much to learn from all around. Keep your ears open Taher. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

One percenter

I am looking around at my house which is mostly packed up at this point. We are almost all ready to move in a couple weeks. I'm taking a moment to take it in. We have a beautiful house. In a few weeks we GET to move into an even more beautiful house. In another year and some change we GET to move into a different beautiful house. 

I often look around me and feel I've won a lottery. I GET so much. In this moment I'm remembering that I GET so much more than I WANT. I think I've  won the lottery because I already have all that I want. And I still get more. 

I recently was solicited for some work. It's nothing now, but it could become something. The potential is great, but I will do well to remember that I have all I want already. 

I'm ALREADY in the top 0.1% of happy people. 

Nooriya's ballet teacher is made an exception to the usual "no parents" rule and letting me watch today!  I even got to do the silly dance��